Running a farm sanctuary, or any animal rescue enterprise, can be hard going. There’s the obvious stuff like dealing with neglect, defensive and angry owners, farmers who want to do the right thing but are bound by hideous industry norms. Then there’s the stuff you struggle through in the middle of the night when everyone’s been fed and cared for. The things like accounting (ew), furiously learning about a new type of animal who needs you or a new ailment or treatment option. Things like making sure your community even know you exist through social media posts, so that when someone does see an animal in need they can find you quickly and easily.
For me these hidden challenges have been all consuming lately as I’m contacted about more and more horses in need. I am NOT a horse lady… in fact when my heart horse Lika came to the Sanctuary a year ago I was dead scared of her! She was the first horse I’d ever been in a paddock with and I will forever be grateful to her for being so patient with me as I learned how to pick hooves, groom, lead and generally care for her and, in time, other horses that crossed my path.
Recently I was asked by friends at another Sanctuary to step in and take Ruth and Big Mac on (go to the Adopt page to register your interest for Ruth when she’s ready!). Big Mac is 22 years old and a complete gentleman. Although he was a little worse for wear, he has clearly had kind owners before and will have a wonderful retirement at his final forever home. Ruth, however, had been on the property for most, if not all, of her life. She was ultra skinny, full of worms, unhandled and suffering hugely with all her hooves different lengths! And the worst part? She’s not even a very bad case of neglect.
Ruth is one of the lucky ones, someone saw something and did something, and her owner made the wise choice to surrender her rather than send her off on the dog food truck. Now she’s gained a heap of weight, been wormed, will allow me to get a halter on and off and even comes up for cuddles in the paddock!
If you see or know of a mistreated/neglected horse or other animal, PLEASE get in touch with us or another local Sanctuary! We can’t save them all but there are a lot of things we can do, ranging from education to hands on support at the property. Every animal deserves a chance at a happily ever after, and I’m so thrilled that Ruth will get hers ❤